Nov 29, 2009

Sunday November 29, 2009 Peter Wentz

Theme: Right on Cue - QU is added to the starts of the first words of familiar phrases.

23A. Charmin' way of actin' up?: (QU)AINT MISBEHAVIN'. Was not familiar with the base phrase Ain't Misbehavin'

32A. Annul the middle of the week?: (QU)ASH WEDNESDAY. This tipped me off the theme.

49A. Calculation for an express delivery?: (QU)ICK FACTOR. Ick Factor is a measurement of the repulsiveness of something gross.

66A. Ends it, to one's subsequent regret?: (QU)ITS A GOOD THING. It's a Good Thing.

85A. Sick feeling on campus?: (QU)AD NAUSEAM. Ad Nauseam.

99A. Wasn't quite ready to accuse?: (QU)ASI SUSPECTED. As I Suspected. I have difficulty understanding the new phrase. Confused by the grammar structure.

112A. Muslim household's holy book?: (QU)RAN IN THE FAMILY. Feels like the base phrase should be "run in the family', no?

The only non-theme QU today is QUE (28A. Juan's "what"). Total 8 Q's in the puzzle. Plus 3 Z's, 3 J's, 3 X'es and 7 K's . Quite a scrabbly pangram (all 26 letters are used at least once). In fact, it's a triple pangram.

In his last themeless Saturday, this constructor Peter Wentz used four J's & eight K's, quite unusual for a 15*15. Maybe scrabbliness is his style.

Again, I grokked the theme very early on and it sure helped my solving. Many times understanding the theme early has no impact on my solving, esp pun themes. Today I was able to fill in every QU in the Across theme answers and then cracked the intersecting Down entries, which are mostly solid words/phrases and easily obtainable.


1. Scale notes: FAS

4. Copy room malfunction: JAM-UP. Printer malfunction too.

9. Parchment?: THIRST. Too cute a clue for me.

15. Island band The __ Men: BAHA. Here is their annoying "Who Let the Dogs Out".

19. Like single-digit temps: ABOVE ZERO. Nice multi-word entry.

21. California's motto: EUREKA. Know this because of our CA gang.

22. "Son of Frankenstein" role: YGOR. Or IGOR.

25. Daring exploit: GEST

26. Stats for Tyson: TKOS (Technical Knockouts)

27. Juan or Gabriel lead-in: SAN. San Juan & San Gabriel.

29. Bridget with a diary: JONES. From movie "Bridget Jones's Diary".

30. Arles article: LES. As in "Les Misérables".

35. Sailor's destination in a Yeats poem: BYZANTIUM. Yeats's "Sailing to Byzantium". I wrote down BYZANTINE.

40. Workplace stds. enforcer: OSHA

41. Fluffy accessory: BOA

42. Prefix with directional: UNI. Unidirectional. Penned in ERN, it's actually "Directional suffix".

43. Takes away: DETRACTS

46. Z4 automaker: BMW. Car make/model is definitely my weak point.

54. Winning game line: OOO. Tick-tack-toe.

55. Narrow furrow: STRIA. The answer emerged itself.

56. "__ All That": 1999 comedy: SHE'S

57. Big name in water filters: BRITA. No idea. No filter in our kitchen.

59. Sport with mallets: POLO

62. Provide power to: ENABLE

64. Hidden: CLOAKED

69. To an extreme degree: AWFULLY. Did you know immediately that the clue is asking for an adverb?

72. Within arm's length of: NEXT TO

73. Twosomes: DYADS. Dy(0) is a prefix for "two".

76. Gustave who illustrated classics: DORE. Stranger to me. Gustave Doré (French) illustrated Cervantes's "Don Quixote". Poe's "The Raven", Milton's "Paradise Lost", etc.

77. Works up a sweater: KNITS

79. Multi-vol. references: OEDS (Oxford English Dictionaries)

81. Early aft. hour: ONE PM

83. Java: JOE. Coffee.

84. Slightly: A TAD

87. Charleston, WV-to-Charlotte dir.: SSE

88. Edited version seen in theaters: FINAL CUT

91. Year in Nero's reign: LIX. Roman numeral 59. Very frustrating clue. Nero ruled from 54 to 68 A.D.

92. Corned beef holder: RYE. Reuben sandwich.

93. Military band wind: FIFE

95. "That's it!": AHA

96. Old bath water quality: TEPIDNESS. Odd use of "old".

104. Mazatlán Mrs.: SRA (Señora). Then we also have MMES (82D. Fr. titles). Madames.

105. Chill out, slangily: UNLAX. New slang to me. RELAX wouldn't fit.

106. Roman sun god: SOL

107. Ones bound by blood: KIN. I often forget that the plural form of KIN is still KIN.

108. Chant at a Lakers game: KOBE. Kobe Bryant. Stumper for me.

111. Without a specific goal: IDLY

118. Mess up: RUIN

119. Celtic language spoken in France: BRETON

120. 2008 Harlan Coben thriller: HOLD TIGHT. No idea. See the book cover.

121. Lotto-like game: KENO

122. Leapt: SPRANG. A bunch of consonants.

123. Premium movie channel that dropped its "!" in 2005: STARZ. Unknown to me also. I don't think we have this channel.

124. Took care of: DID


1. Helpful URL link: FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions). Nailed it.

3. Overcharge, in slang: SOAK. Learned this slang a few months ago.

4. Long-time CBS news anchor Jim: JENSEN. He died before I came to the US, so no, I don't know him.

5. HIV-treating drug: AZT. The first drug approved for the treatment of AIDS. Have never heard of it.

6. Part of RAM: Abbr.: MEM (Memory). RAM = Random Access Memory. Desperate clue/answer.

7. Sch. whose mascot is Rhody the Ram: URI (University of Rhode Island). I failed again.

8. Play __: feign sleep: POSSUM

9. Even more itsy-bitsy: TEENSIER

10. "How's that again?": HUH

11. Controversial conflict since 2003: IRAQ WAR. Great fill.

12. Variety show: REVUE

13. Hit the slopes: SKIED. Hit is past tense here.

15. Words of emphasis: BY GOSH

16. Planning aid: AGENDA BOOK. I just call it personal organizer.

17. Old Testament prophet: HOSEA. Minor prophets.

18. Highfalutin: ARTSY

20. Instrument featured in Berlioz's "Harold in Italy": VIOLA. Easy guess.

29. Civil rights activist Jackson: JESSE. Reverend Jesse Jackson. I bet he wishes he could grab the spotlight and offer Tiger Woods some help.

31. Double __ Oreo: STUF. First time I saw this entry in a Xword.

32. Baked brunch dishes: QUICHES. Yummy.

33. 116-Down's last VP: HST. And FDR (116D. See 33-Down).

34. Like an expired license: NOT VALID

35. Backyard parties, briefly: BBQS

36. Kids: YOUTH

37. Old name of Congo: ZAIRE (1971-97)

38. Sworn __: given the oath of office for: IN AS. Doubt I'd get the AS part without the crossing help.

43. Amounts to take: DOSAGES

44. Actress Meyers: ARI. So happy I finally remember her name.

45. One may be backhand: CATCH

47. Whacked arcade critter: MOLE. Was ignorant of the Whac-A-Mole game at all.

48. Fuel for the fire: WOOD

50. __ du Soleil: CIRQUE

52. One with an option to buy, perhaps: TENANT. Nice clue too.

57. Eclipse, as the sun: BLOT OUT

58. Herbal quaff: RED TEA. Chinese call black tea as RED TEA.

59. Some polytheists: PAGANS

61. Formal neckwear, perhaps: SILK TIES

63. Fight in a ring: BOX. Verb.

67. "The Seduction of Joe __": Alda film" : TYNAN. Have faintly heard of this film. Someone must have mentioned it at the Comments section before.

68. Barely walked: TODDLED

69. Fast and furious, e.g.: Abbr.: ADJS. Excellent clue. Both fast and furious are adjectives.

70. Makes a play for: WOOS. "Make a play for" is a new idiom to me.

71. 1989 Tom Petty hit: FREE FALLIN'. Here is a clip. It's not stored in my memory.

74. Big name in snowblowers: DEERE. Toro too.

75. Neuters: SPAYS. Ouch.

78. Rhoda's mom: IDA. Again, got her name from crosses.

80. Sassy one: SNIP. Unaware of this definition of snip.

84. Attach: AFFIX. Wrote down ADD TO first.

85. Duck chorus: QUACKING. Lovely.

86. What the Earth turns on: AXIS

89. City near Buenos Aires: LA PLATA. No idea. See the map. Literally "The Silver".

90. Backer of Fidel: CHE (Guevara). They were comrades.

94. Answer to one's own rhetorical question, perhaps: I SAY NO. Nice answer.

96. Dimes, to dollars: TENTHS. Did not come to me easily.

97. '90s TV toon therapist: DR KATZ. Looks like a fun cartoon. I've never heard of it though. No idea. Katze is German for "cat". Don't know what Katz means.

98. Vocalist Judd: NAOMI. So is Wynonna.

99. Peculiarity: QUIRK

100. Excessive: UNDUE. As undue/excessive force.

101. Take by force: USURP

103. Its symbol is Sn: TIN. Oh, good to learn.

109. Mavs' city: BIG D. Dallas Mavericks the NBA team.

110. Like the pre-coll. supplies market: ELHI. EL(ementary) + HI(gh School).

112. The NFL's Mannings, e.g.: QBS. Eli Manning & Peyton Manning are both quarterbacks.

113. Parisian turndown: NON

114. Spicy: HOT

115. Portuguese "she": ELA. It's always clued as "Guido's high note" in our old puzzle.

117. P. & L. column heading: YTD (Year to Date). P. &L. = Profit & Loss. I was at sea.

Answer grid.



Hahtool said...

Good Morning, CC. This was a good challenge for an early Sunday Morning. My first theme clue was QUAINT MISBEHAVIN, although I did not get that on the first pass. Once I got that I realized the theme responses required a QU (cue). How clever!

Favorite clues were: Works up a sweater: KNITS / Corned beef holder: RYE / and Parchment: THIRST.

My sister went to URI, so seeing Rhody the Ram came easily. We used to tease her that it is a good thing that the school was not called University of Rhode Island in New England.

QOD: One golden day redeems a weary year. ~ Celia Thaxter

Barry G. said...

Morning, all!

Strangely enough, the NYT puzzle for today has an identical theme ("Cued up") and even shares one of the theme answers (I won't say which one for anybody who plans to work that puzzle later).

This puzzle was a real slog for me. There were lots of things that were easy to get, but also a lot of places where I really got bogged down. The NE corner was probably the worst, where I had IGOR for YGOR and first tried DEED and then FEAT for GEST.

I misspelled DRKATZ first as DRCATS and then DRKATS, which held me up in the SE corner for awhile. In fact, that final Z kept me from getting the "tada!" at the end and I wasted an extra five minutes looking for my mistake before I finally found it.

ADJS did not immediately spring to mind. Partially because of the tricky clue, but mostly because it's a really piss poor abbreviation.

Oh -- and UNLAX is right up there with yesterday's "give A RAP" as an obviously made up answer the constructor threw in to get himself out of a jam. That's my story, and I'm sticking with it.

There was more, but those are the highlights. Or lowlights, as it were.

Have a great one!

[Edited for early morning typos...]

Mary said...

Good Morning CC and all,
Last day to sleep in but I was up before the paper came. So I did the puzzle online with that darned clock showing me that I spent nearly an hour on it! Doing it online makes it too tempting to use red letter help instead of googling when I need help. I don't learn much that way.

'Nuff griping. I loved the Q theme. QUAINTMISBEHAVIN came quickly and all the theme puns made me laugh. I was impressed to find IRAQWAR/QUE for even one more Q. My favorites were same as Hahtool plus barely walked/TODDLED. I love to watch new walkers! Anyone else thinking of seconds for amounts to take? Kudos to the NFL Mannings, what an amazing feat. (or GEST?)

Argyle said...

Rhoady the Ram
In the 1920s, he was given the name Battering Ram, the live mascot of Rhode Island State College. For big games against foes like Connecticut, it was common for students to paint Battering Ram’s horns Keaney Blue.

As the decades passed and Rhode Island State grew into the University of Rhode Island, his name was changed to Ramses. By the 1960s, the mascot was represented by a student who dressed in a costume.

Now known as Rhody the Ram to thousands of alumni and sports fans around the world, he has his own Wikipedia entry.

Dennis said...

Good morning, C.C. and gang - QUite a challenge today, with snags at every turn. As C.C. said, the theme became apparent early on, and that helped fill big chunks of the puzzle fairly quickly. Still took me over 20 minutes, though.

'Unlax' used to be used frequently by kids; heard it in the store often. 'Tepidness' for some reason just doesn't ring right with me. Also, I confidently put 'outdated' instead of 'not valid' for 34D, and 'nearby' instead of 'next to' for 72a. Slowed things down a bit. Oh, and I had 'sages' for 'Mint and marjoram', figuring it had to start with an 's' since 36D, 'kids' looked like it was gonna be plural. Needed lots of perp help as well; all in all, a fun Sunday solve.

Hope it's a great Sunday for everyone; crisp and sunny here today. And for those who asked, I posted a note about the Beach Boys show late last night.

kazie said...

Marginally better for me than the last two days, but still needed lots of red letter help. Didn't like GEST for exploit, AWFULLY, UNLAX, ARTSY for highfalutin', and had no idea who/what Mavs' were, so the city remained a mystery, even after it perped in.

I also had a brain fart over ADJS, not realizing until here what the signifigance was--strange for a grammarian such as I am!

KATZ doesn't have a true meaning, other than being a foreign looking way to spell cats, and makes it seem like the German Katze. And Reuben is misspelled in your blog today.

I think my favorite today was THIRST, maybe because I caught it quickly, like the theme.

Crockett1947 said...

Good morning, everyone.

I started this at a much too advanced hour last night and just couldn't give it up until completed. 69D, 76A and 87A (ADJS, DORE, SSE) were my undoing. I need to go get Carol's V8 can. I had ESE for 87A, just knew that JOE was correct, and could make nothing out of A_JN. Finally asked for help and changed the N to an S and STILL couldn't come up with anything, Asked for the solve on 76A and got the D, so there's ADJS staring me in the face and I still can't see it. Finally, DOH!

Lovely, challenging puzzle.

@barryg I originally had IGOR as well but the prior discussion that we had here came out of the cobwebs and I could change that I to Y. I also had extreme unease on UNLAX (WTF?).

@mary To make your on-line solving experience better, don't use the blasted clock and solve in Master mode or download Across-Lite and set it up like above. You still get a puzzle finished alert, but you can ferret out your errors by your self without the instant notification of where the error is.

@dennis Hand up for NEARBY. Glad you enjoyed the Beach Boys concert.

Have a fabulous Sunday!!

Al said...

@C.C., Not sure whether he said it all that much in the actual books, but in all the old Sherlock Holmes movies, the scriptwriters seem to have made it a catchphrase to have him say either "as I suspected" or "just as I suspected".

I have heard unlax used, but not for a long time. It seemed kind of dated to me.

AZT -- azidothymidine is expensive and can give drug companies huge profits. You won't hear about alternate treatments unless you go looking yourself, because there is no money to be made from them, even though they are reported right in the PUB MED (NIH) database...

Well, the past few days have been pretty humbling. I either had to use G or red letters in at least one spot to complete them all. And the Merle Reagle Sunday puzzle on the LAT site was pretty tough, too. Who says you don't ever get what you ask for?

Al said...

P.S., If you read that PUB MED link I just gave (the official National Institute of Health website), it also states this about elderberry extract:

In a placebo-controlled double-blind study Sambucol led to a rapid recovery from influenza and inhibited replication of nine other strains of the flu virus. A theory is that elderberry renders viruses nonfunctional by staining and coating them.

Did anyone that went out and got flu shots hear that information from their attending doctor or nurse?

DCannon said...

Not a good solve today. Left SE partially empty because I had "Quran in the home(_)(_)" and couldn't come up with anything else. Also didn't know "Kobe" so I put "Mojo." Needless to say, that pretty well ruined that corner. Had problems in NE, too. "Baha" was a complete unknown to me. I got "bygosh" "Ygor" and "Hosea" right away, though.

Took advantage of Mr. G a lot this morning, but he couldn't help me with everything.

My printed version was difficult to read because the numbers on the grid were so small. No help for that because enlarging would have run to two pages. Spent a lot of time squinting at it. Think I'll do it online next week.

Temperature is 44º. It is projected to be 56º for a high today. Maybe rain (fingers crossed) but radar shows one cell too far east and one too far northwest for us to benefit.

Y'all have a good 'un!

Clear Ayes said...

Good Morning All, The QU beginning to all the theme answers really helped a lot. I got it after QUASH WEDNESDAY and, like C.C., I ran across the grid and filled in all the QU's.

I've never heard of a planner/organizer called an (16D) AGENDA BOOK. I was OK with (105A) UNLAX and even (69A)AWFULLY

I did pretty well until the SE corner. That section seems to be my downfall lately. I didn't know who the 90's toon therapist was, or what people chanted at a Laker game ("Go Lakers", would seem like the obvious answer, but not enough spaces.). Harlan Coben''s book was unknown and even though I knew the Mavs were from Dallas, I couldn't figure out how to shorten it to four letters. Finally, with all those empty spaces, I just stared at the clues "Like the pre-coll. supplies market", "P.&L. column heading" and "Took care of" without a single "EUREKA!", or even a "DOH" firing up my synapses. Rather than having the computer fill those in, I came here to see C.C.'s take. I was glad to see that at least a couple of them were problems for her and others.

I think Charley blushed after I told him his photo had been complimented yesterday (thanks, Carol and Sallie), but with all that fuzz, it is so hard to tell. :o)

Anonymous said...

@Al, what's your expert opinion on flax seed and flax seed oil?

boomermomma said...

Acck - this puzzle was tough but a good one..once I got the hang of it. Needed CC's help on the lower SW corner...what is "unlax" never heard that...poor clue

Like the "iraq war" clue too but since my son is leaving for the Army in January, the words have new meaning.

Tepidness reminds be of bathing the little grandchildren and being sure the water is "tepid" or baking bread and proofing the yeast..Any bread makers out there?

Lovely Thanksgiving weekend and I am happy to be back in touch with you all! Joan

MJ said...

Good day, C.C. and all,

I loved the QU theme of this puzzle! Like many others, I grasped it early on which helped with the grid. Have never heard the slang UNLAX, but in checking with Mr. G after the fact, one site claims the word is a Buggs Bunny original. One clue I still don't understand is 110D: "Like the pre-coll. supplies market". Why "supplies market"? Is it because the ELHI group are potential college students of the future? If that's it, I guess it just seems awkward to me. I got the correct answer from perps, just don't get the clue.

A couple of favorite clues today are 9A: Parchment, and 69D: Fast and furious. Favorite theme clue is 99A: Wasn't QUite ready to accuse? All in all, I had fun on today's solving ride.

@DCannon-I also have trouble seeing the numbers on the printed version, but keep a magnifying glass close at hand. I also find it easier to see the numbers in sunlight than in lamplight.

Enjoy the day!

eddyB said...

Hello all.

I stopped dueing the 21x21 puzzles because of the smaller type. The extra 126 squares make a big difference. Anyway, I asked Santa for a full page magnifying glass..

I'll start again tonight for the Monday puzzles.


Bill G. said...

I was a middle school teacher for 31 years and never heard or saw the term ELHI used. I still don't except in crossword puzzles. ADGENDA BOOK seems like a made up word to me.

I do remember seeing UNLAX in comic books; maybe Bugs Bunny and/or Pogo.

CC, Ain't Misbehavin' is an old Fats Waller piece from 1929 and a musical from 1978 featuring that song.

embien said...

30:01 today. I had lots of beefs with this one (besides the obvious one of not knowing GEST at all). I did love the clever QU theme ("right on cue"), but a clever theme with lousy other stuff makes an unsatisfying puzzle for me.

Is parchment a form of the word parch? Doesn't show up in in that sense if it is, nor in my giant M&W unabridged.

ADJS and UNLAX and ELHI == ugly. Really ugly.

AGENDA BOOK? C'mon, really.

(QU) RAN IN THE FAMILY is a common phrase? Not in my book, which only has RUNS IN THE FAMILY.

And YTD could have been anything: NET, AMT, etc. I hate fill like that, especially when the cross is an obscure novel (HOLD TIGHT). Did it even make the NY Times bestseller list? Ranks #184,866 on books, which hardly seems like a major book.

Bah humbug.

Anonymous said...

Well, duh - use a magnifying glass! Thanks, MJ. I have one right here in a drawer; don't know why I didn't think of that!

My first try on parchment was
"scroll." If not for the perps, I would never have gotten "thirst."

Robin said...

Good Evening All. Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving. I spent the time with friends in Las Vegas. Yes, some things are better left in Las Vegas!

Jeannie, I wish I was doing something noble like saving lives, but at least I was contributing to the economy of Vegas!

I don't do the Sunday c/w so I will have time to catch up with all of the posts.

I cannot resist Argyle. Thank you so much for the information on Rhody the Ram, the mascot for the University of Rhode Island....whos name was changed to Ramses.....and in 1960 was represented by a student, who dressed in costume!!! You are the best Argyle!!

Rock on!

Al said...

Anon @1:08, a couple of ounces of flax seed is a moderately OK dietary addition for the omega-3 oils and fiber it provides, but it needs to be ground fresh to release the nutrients just prior to consuming (in a smoothie, for example), or it can go rancid and actually be detrimental. Flax seed oil also needs to be fresh, i.e. if it isn't at least refrigerated where you buy it, the quality is kind of suspect. A lot of people don't tolerate it well. The purified oil is also missing the fiber and lignan of the ground seeds. If you're male, perhaps flax seed oil isn't the best choice, since only a small percentage of the ALA it delivers is converted to EPA and DHA, which are more important in preventing cancer, and ALA by itself can actually increase cancer risk. Sesame and pumpkin seeds should be rotated with flax to balance the combination of omega-6 and omega-3 being provided, and pumpkin seeds also have other nutrients that help ward off cancer as well.

A better choice for EPA and DHA omega-3's is either fish oil, if you can be sure it is purified enough that there is no mercury in it, or even better, krill oil, which also provides vitamin A, is a good source of antioxidants, and is absorbed more fully than "regular" fish oil, so you don't need to take as much.

Jazzbumpa said...

Hey gang -

No time for the puzzle today, but I printed it off for later.

I'll probably be out of touch until Thus. Catch you all later.

JzB the off-line trombonist

PJB-Chicago said...

Howdy, all! Got a late start on the puzzle today, but finally finished off the leftovers (turkey quesadillas) so feel I accomplished something today!

The theme was QUIRKy but clever, so I found 2 of 7 answers sort of "iffy" yet gettable, with QUASI and QURAN because the two word then the past tense issue. QUAD NAUSEAM made me laugh.

Quick notes:
--I'd rather see UNLAX than "exlax" in a grid
--The TEPIDNESS of old ("used") bathwater would be the least of my concerns of washing up with second-hand liquid
--The dreaded "random Roman numeral" strikes again! Was LIX a year of note, an "Annus Terribilis"? [a dreadful year]. Did the Emperor lose Tic Tac Toe with XXO?
--Is playing POSSUM the same as pretending to be asleep or it mimicking being dead? I'm thinking it' s the latter.

Neato fill: TODDLED, PARCHMENT, and the elusive BIG D. Not-so-peachy: IN AS, ADJs, BLOT OUT (i didn't see the connection) and JAM UP as a noun (maybe it's just me, or maybe I am just a SNIP in a snit!).

Bill G. said...

I was a middle school teacher for 31 years and never heard or saw the term ELHI used. I still don't except in crossword puzzles. ADGENDA BOOK seems like a made up word to me.

I do remember seeing UNLAX in comic books; maybe Bugs Bunny and/or Pogo.

CC, Ain't Misbehavin' is an old Fats Waller piece from 1929 and a musical from 1978 featuring that song.

Anonymous said...

Loved this quirky to figure out the thematic entries...but where did the constructor get unlax from??? Que sera, sera!

JD said...

Good evening all,

I don't usually do the Sun. puzzle, and I can see why. I worked on it off 'n on all morning, and only left 6 open squares. In almost every case, my first and 2nd choices were RED, and like CA I was trying to figure out how to cut Dallas down to 4 letters. I kept saying, "Think out of the box you blockhead!!" I had 1/2 answers all over the place:__zero,____Wednesday,quick__,tepid___. I did catch on to the qu, but not the thinking part of the theme. Left the s out of quasi/isayno and the u out of suspected/usurp. No K/B on Kobe as I had no clue who Dr Katz was.

I'm sure you all didn't really want to hear all of this, but I'm proud of myself for sticking with it, even though it was mostly frustrating. Wish I could have yelled out "EUREKA!", but alas, it was not to be.I need a case of that V-8!

Tealover said...

@Al, thanks for the information about flax seed. I love your Crossword Corner comments.